Pressure, Perfection, and Watering the Plants

Pressure, Perfection, and Watering the PlantsI’ve been having real difficulty starting this post today. The trouble isn’t deciding what to write about – if anything I have far too much that I want to share and discuss with you and part of the problem is figuring out how to get it into some sort of coherent form.

To start with I thought that now we’ve reached May it would be a good time to do a check-in for this year. Where has the time gone? It seems only yesterday we were discussing New Year’s Resolutions (or lack thereof) and setting intentions for the year ahead. That year is now one third of the way through, so it makes sense to see where we’re on track and where we’ve steered off-course.

My goals for this year were many, and some are going better than others. I’ve made good progress with my health and fitness, having lost 10lbs so far this year (thanks to a very successful push in February) and making much headway with healthy eating – coming up with fantastic recipes like my recent kale and quinoa salad bowl and vegan ‘cheesy’ broccoli soup, or discovering that I enjoy these date and cashew “chocolates” far more than I do real chocolate. So health and fitness gets a big tick. They’re going well, and hopefully they will continue to do so for the rest of the year.

I’m not yet competent in another language for my upcoming holiday to Italy and France, and most certainly nowhere near conversational, but I do know a lot more Italian than I did at the start of the year. I’ve been primarily using Duolingo (you can see my progress or add me as a friend here) but occasionally using other resources, and I think that I’m going to continue learning even after I come back from my holiday. I’m fed up only being able to speak English and I’d forgotten how much I actually enjoy learning other languages, so whilst I’m not completely on-track, I’m not completely off it either.

I am reading more books, and am only 2 books behind schedule (my goal is 40 this year) according to Goodreads! And I finally finished The Goldfinch, a book that I really enjoyed but shamefully took me six months to get through. I haven’t watched more films (I even set myself a goal about a month ago to watch one a week, and I haven’t seen a single one since then). I’m really enjoying the acting class I’m currently going to on a Friday evening, hosted by CityLit.

Overall, I think I’m doing pretty well. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I was a little worried when I set my goals for the year that I wouldn’t get past February. That hasn’t been the case, and hopefully when we check in after another four months I’ll have done even more.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention writing in the above breakdown, although I give it a fairly large focus in my goals for the year:

“I will write my blog regularly, and I’ll start off by uploading a post today or tomorrow. […] Something will be written that will lead me one step closer to having a creative job. I will work on scripts, on novels, on my blog, on anything that can keep the cogs spinning.”

This is where all the ‘P’ words from the title come in – Pressure, Perfection, and watering the Plants.

I love writing this blog. I love sharing my thoughts with you, be that a new recipe I’ve been playing with or an update on whatever I’ve been working on recently. I love hearing your responses. I love doing all the things I can to try and improve it and make the experience of visiting here more enjoyable for you – be that working hard to learn about photography and photo editing to improve the quality of my pictures, or tinkering with the workings of the website itself (and thank goodness for back-ups – I have broken everything once or twice!) to just make everything smoother. I never thought I’d enjoy this whole process as much as I have been and I’m so glad I decided to give it a proper go.

But you may have noticed that I haven’t actually been posting all that often recently. The reason for this is simple: I’ve been putting myself under too much pressure. As I’ve just said, I’m really trying my hardest to make this site better, and as such I’ve fallen into one of the biggest traps of creating anything – worrying too much about making it perfect. It’s not that I don’t have much to write about, in fact there are numerous draft posts sitting in the wings. The problem is that before I actually start writing any of these ideas, I get bogged down by “is this going to be good enough?”, “are people going to be interested in this?”, and I end up feeling stuck and unable to get much written.

But admitting that you have a problem is the first step to overcoming your problem, and recently I decided that I need to just shut up and get on with it. After all, as supreme-blogger-extroadinare The Pioneer Woman writes in regards to blogging,

“If you water a plant once every two weeks, it will shrivel.”

Gala Darling says to write every single day. I noticed that some of the blogs I enjoy reading have literally hundreds of posts per year for years, meaning they update at least every other day.

I also had some food for thought recently in the vein of some words from my acting class tutor. Very early on some of us were discussing the problem with being told to tell a story about ourselves with no time to prepare, and how it can make us feel like anything we have to say is uninteresting, or that we have nothing to say at all because we feel we are ‘uninteresting’ people. He said that no one should have the arrogance to think that they are uninteresting and therefore not share their stories, or that the stories they do tell are not interesting.

You don’t know who your audience are – you don’t know their inner thoughts or feelings, you don’t know what makes them tick, you don’t know what they’ll jump on out of interest or shun in distaste. Don’t have the arrogance to presume that you are uninteresting to them, because you can not speak for them.

It made me think, and I’m going to try and keep that more in mind.

I’ve been getting better at keeping my actual plants watered. It’s time for me to get better at keeping the metaphorical plants watered.

How are you getting on with this year so far? Kept to your resolutions? Struggling with perfectionism or a fear of failure? Let me know in the comments or send me an email! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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